Published in the December 11, 2015 edition


MELROSE – The “average” residential property tax bill will be going up nearly $200 this year.

On Monday, Nov. 30, those aldermen present unanimously approved a tax classification shift to commercial and industrial properties of 1.480, meaning the new residential tax rate will be $12.33 for each thousand dollars of value. For fiscal year 2016 – which began in July – an “average” single family home in the city is valued at $465,988.

Someone who owns an “average” house will pay $5,746 in property taxes this year, compared to the same homeowner paying $5,549 in fiscal year 2015, a difference of $197. Residential property taxes will rise 3.5 percent this fiscal year.

Residential property owners far outnumber those who own commercial or industrial properties and as a result bear the larger share of the city’s tax base, somewhere around 91 percent.

Commercial property owners will see their taxes rise about 2.6 percent this year. The average commercial property in Melrose is valued at $668,451 and the owner of that property will see a tax rate of $18.78, paying $12,554 in taxes. This is compared to the $12,241 in taxes the same owner paid for fiscal 2015, based on an assessed value of $647,693.

The 10 aldermen present Nov. 30 voted for the 1.48 tax classification shift, with Ward 7’s Scott Forbes absent.

According to very detailed information supplied by the Assessors Office, the city has been pretty consistent in keeping tax increases as fair as possible for both those who own commercial property and those who own single-family homes.

In 2015, the average homeowner’s bill of $5,549 was a 3.1 percent increase over the year before. The average homeowner paid $4,770 in property taxes in fiscal 2010; $4,955 in fiscal 2011; $5,093 in fiscal 2012; $5,212 in fiscal 2013, and $5,383 in fiscal 2014.

In 2015, the average commercial property owner in Melrose paid $12,241 in taxes, an increase of 3.4 percent over the year before. The same property owner paid $10,163 in taxes in fiscal year 2010; $10,645 in fiscal 2011; $10,953 in fiscal 2012; $11,520 in fiscal 2013, and $11,841 in fiscal 2014.

In fiscal year 2015, the average single family homeowner in Saugus paid $3,971. The average single family homeowner in Wakefield paid $5,608. And the average single family homeowner paid $5,411 in Stoneham. All three of those communities have a far bigger commercial and industrial presence than Melrose does.